Organising a trade show costs money, and sometimes significant amounts of it, depending on the size and scale of the event.
As an organiser, you may well make the original investment back with relative ease - and turn over a profit - but it's important to ensure costs are covered as soon as possible.
Gaining a sponsor for the trade show can help cover a good chunk of the upfront expenditure. If you know where to look for advertisers, and how to attract them to your trade show, this can put the event on a solid financial footing from the outset.
As a trade show organiser, your ideal sponsor will be an organisation which pays upfront, has relatively standard demands and adopts a hands-off approach.
In return for their financial support, you'll offer exclusivity on the branding side, a say in who gets booked and what takes place, VIP treatment and the opportunity to actively promote their products and services.
It's important to find a sponsor that not only has financial clout, but is relatively easy to work with and shares your vision for the event and what it should be.
You have to approach the right people and then outline a business case for the sponsorship agreement.
Start off by describing the target audience for the event, and explaining where it overlaps with the organisation's own customer base.
Think about how the potential sponsor's mission, culture and values tie in with your trade show. If there is a clash on any level, they are not a suitable backer for your event.
You also need to be creative in terms of ideas for advertising; what could the potential sponsor do to raise awareness of your brand at the trade show.
They will want the opportunity to engage with the audience on a group basis, but also through one-to-ones.
When approaching organisations with a view to sponsorship, it's important to be confident and optimistic, and also flexible.
A business may be interested in backing the show, if you are prepared to negotiate on a few issues which are of importance to them.